During the course of the project, experts from both sides of the Atlantic formed four multi-stakeholder working groups on the following topics:
The working groups consisted of experts from the EU and US, with representation from government, industry, nongovernmental organisations, academia, and other key ocean user groups.
Working group members participated in three events including two working group meetings and a final conference.
The interplay between ocean and atmosphere means that the effects of climate change on our seas in the form of temperature increase, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, increased storm intensity, and changes in local and global circulation patterns will become more pronounced in the coming decades. It is important that adequate strategies be developed now to address these impacts. This working group explored possible synergies and tradeoffs between marine and climate policies, exchanged best practices, and identified issues and concrete steps for transatlantic cooperation.
The protection and sustainable use of high seas resources is a pressing global issue. The US/EU positions on the subject are neither clear nor precise. Therefore, cooperation between the US and EU is needed to explore solutions as well as opportunities for common positions on key issues. One example of a key focus area is governance of biodiversity on the high seas at international fora such as UNICPOLOS or relevant UN Working Groups. This working group identified opportunities for common EU and US approaches and possible collaborative efforts related to balancing economic activity and environmental protection in the high seas.
Integrated approaches are recognized by decision makers in both the EU and the US as the right way to effectively manage the wide variety of ocean uses. However, applying integrated tools in practice is often easier said than done. This working group shared experiences with marine spatial planning and identified next steps for how integrated approaches can be best put into practice.
Despite numerous important issues related to ocean resource management that could benefit from cooperation between the EU and the US, relatively few have resulted in direct cooperation. This working group identified opportunities for transatlantic cooperation related to areas of ocean resource management. Several key issues were addressed by the group, including best practices for environmentally sustainable practices and technology in shipping, fisheries, energy development; information sharing and standards for monitoring, control, and surveillance and opportunities for bilateral cooperation to strengthen their influence in international organizations.